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Diplomatic passports, honorary citizenship exchanged for donation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 28, 2011) – Five Chinese nationals are to receive Vanuatu diplomatic passports.

The Chinese group earlier this year was given honorary Vanuatu citizenship after offering 31 million vatu, or 330,000 U.S. dollars, to the government for the renovation of the national parliament building in Port Vila.

Half that money has been donated but our correspondent says it is still to reach the government treasury.

The private secretary of the minister of foreign affairs, Matai Kalwatman, says after MPs last month amended the law, it is now legal for foreigners to hold Vanuatu diplomatic passports.

He says the passport printer has been adapted to allow the issuing of biometric diplomatic passports for foreign nationals.

The five Chinese will be special envoys of the Vanuatu parliament.

[PIR editor’s note: Former cabinet minister Joe Natuman called for New Zealand to investigate passport aid to Vanuatu earlier this month after recent plans to grant foreign nationals diplomatic passports became news. Natuman said that New Zealand insisted that the practice of doling out passports must stop in an effort to keep politicians from using passports for personal gain.]

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